Pakistan In Next 90 Days Expected to Comply With These FATF Tasks

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Finance Minister Asad Umar has written a letter to the president of the FATF asking him to appoint any other member country besides India as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group of FATF.

PKONWEB Report (Islamabad) — Pakistan in the next ninety days has to demonstrate compliance with 15 major conditions of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in order to avoid being blacklisted under global anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing regime.

Additionally, the FATF in its upcoming May/June review meeting would look into steps taken and progress made in (1) revising/updating Pakistan’s national risk assessment on terror financing, (2) improving FBR’s customs report on cash couriers to curb currency smuggling and (3) placing inter agency cooperation mechanism among law enforcing agencies at federal and provincial levels.

The FATF in its last plenary meeting in Paris had included the three steps above for review in the upcoming meeting in Colombo.

The FATF will gauge performance on all 18 points. Its subsequent decision could make Pakistan be part of the Grey List or escalated to be included in the Black List.

Any adverse FATF review or decision could potentially affect Pakistan’s ongoing and future outreach efforts with international multilateral lending institutions and credit rating agencies monitoring country risks, some observers say.

The major points for gauging Pakistan’s progress in anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing efforts include:

— Pakistan demonstrating activities to enhance capacity and support for prosecution and the judiciary involved in anti-money laundering and terror financing cases.

— Pakistan will also have to demonstrate that competent authorities in the country are cooperating and taking actions to identify and sanction illegal Money or Value Transfer Service (MVTS) to mitigate the risk of misuse by designated persons and entities (for example closing down illegal MVTS and prosecuting the operators).

— The FATF expects the FIA to demonstrate actions against MVTS on the ground in order to satisfy it.

— Also, the tax authorities (FBR) will have to demonstrate that authorities are pursuing domestic and international cooperation to identify cash couriers and enforce controls on illicit movement of currency. Now the Customs authorities will have to present some cases to demonstrate its actions.

— The National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) will have to demonstrate that it has established and implementing a policy for all responsible law enforcing agencies (LEAs) to proactively initiate financial inquiries and investigation of terrorist groups and their members; and make reactive parallel financial inquiries or possible investigation a part of every terrorism investigation.

— The Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU) of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) will have to demonstrate it is proactively requesting and providing international cooperation in cases of targeting, investigating and prosecuting money laundering and terror financing cases.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Asad Umar has written a letter to the president of the FATF asking him to appoint any other member country besides India as co-chair of the Asia-Pacific Joint Group “to ensure that [the] FATF process is fair, unbiased and objective”, the Ministry of Finance said on Saturday.

According to a statement released by the ministry, the finance minister has cited “India’s animosity towards Pakistan”, which he said was well known, as the reason for the request.

“The letter referred to Indian Finance Minister’s statement regarding efforts for global isolation of Pakistan and [the] Indian call for [the] blacklisting of Pakistan during the International Cooperation Review Group (ICRG) meeting on February 18, 2019, which demonstrated Indian intentions to hurt Pakistan’s economic interests,” the statement said.

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